The coronavirus pandemic has affected a lot of people globally, but one population specifically that It effected are artists, entrepreneurs and creatives. Nearly every arts organization has postponed or outright cancelled performances, exhibitions, and events. Similarly, nearly every working artist has lost at least some work, and have become fully unemployed because of the crisis.
Social Media has become a huge life saver for artists and for fans. Through IGLIVE, we’ve been able to watch so many live performances from some of our favorite artists such as Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, and Musiq Soulchild that really helps keeps us connected to the art world. While this is the most challenging time for artists and arts organizations in generations, they continue to rise in service to their communities with resilience and compassion such as Baltimore Artist, Josh Stokes.
After quarantining in the house for 6 months, Josh Stokes decided to produce, Nu Love Fest 2. NuLoveFest2 really brought the city together to celebrate the real Baltimore Music Culture, right on North Avenue. Dreamon Studios & Blaqstarrfilms documented the entire process: Developing the run of show, selecting the artists to perform, and showed some of the challenges of maneuvering through a pandemic. The NuLoveFest2 Documentary was produced and released it to the world November 20th to relive and experience this amazing night that featured over 50 talents and creators from Baltimore.
Raven Paris: How would you define Baltimore Music Culture?
Josh: I would define it as very VAST, It’s like… it’s so much here! we could compartmentalize ourselves really easily you know like, this is the type of music I like, or this genre is for me but its so much music here, and so many different styles of music that people could enjoy. I think so many times, theres certain barriers that we put up that we just naturally do from upbringing and just socialism that we just kinda say we aren’t interested in that but its so many amazing musicians here, singers, uh all kind of artists.. writers, it’s just a GREAT amount of talent here.
Raven Paris: How did you pick and choose the artists to be apart of this?
Josh: Um…. I picked people who I thought would just be really impactful and who would like, be really good at bringing crowds out and interacting with people. Um, and then people who were just personally impacting me throughout the last few years. You know seeing people grinds, and seeing peoples struggles, how they continued to better themselves at shows and throughout the city by finding new means of creativity.. such as making beats, or just whatever they chose to do throughout these years, everybody on the line-up kind of did that for me. They inspired and showed me to keep doing it. They were great performers. From the beginning to the end of the festival it was ROCKING the entire night.. from every performer, to every dj.. to everything. I would try to describe it as my own BET Awards.. it was really tight.
Raven Paris: I LOVE how you included in your run of show the Dee Dave tribute. January 24th, 2020 really changed the lives of a lot of us, especially if you were apart of the Baltimore art scene or music scene. In some type way you were impacted by Dee. I love how you included his mom in the documentary and had Koni and Jhunt speak out and be apart… that itself was powerful. It showed that Dee Dave’s legacy is gonna live on forever.. ya know? What made you decide to incorporate that part into NuLoveFest2 ?
Josh: Um, I know I probably didn’t know Dee Dave as long as you have or a lot of others have but I really LOVED Dee Dave… Like seriously, he was a friend of mine. He helped me out so much, um… personally especially. Professionally, It would seem as though, to a small minded person that we couldn’t be in the same room, or we couldn’t walk on the same side of the street but it was like he always had love and he always embraced the weakness and the individualism. He would just be like YO rock out, how you rock.. I always had a good time with him. He even connected me to like Tate, the Creek Boys. and the whole FMG Fam. he didn’t have to do that, but he always showed love….. Lately, I’ve been looking at the whole idea of success and what that means to me and Dee Dave was successful, he did his thing.
Raven Paris: What are your hopes of putting this documentary out to the world?
Josh: Um.. I’m hoping to just keep inspiring people that have ideas and visions all over the world, and not even just in this time but ANY time. I feel like all times can have challenges. We have to just continue to speak to ourselves by encouraging and uplifting ourselves to let ourselves and everyone around us know that it’s still all good; we can still create as long as our brain and our bodies are still working. We have the ability to kind of change our situations. I also would love to get it to a few more platforms to be able to get even more eyes on it just so they can see what were doing here, in Baltimore. I feel like that HEAT is continuously growing, and were getting that attention. I’m SO PROUD to say that I’m apart of THIS community, it’s like making history right now.
NuLoveFest2 definitely brought the city back together in the midst of a pandemic, and the documentary made history by reaching almost 1k views within the first 2 days of it premiering. Continue to support black artists in our city, you can start here by watching this documentary